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I reached a point last night at dinner with friends, where we skipped the asparagus on the menu. We were having a lovely dinner at Bar Jules, anxious to sample just about everything, but happy to pass on the asparagus. We had been gorging on it now for a few months, and the corn soup was much more enticing.
But if you have a bundle still on hand, or haven’t quite tired of it yet, this pasta is the perfect segue from spring to summer. I read about the idea first on The Kitchen Sink, a jumble of barely cooked shaved asparagus tossed with al dente bucatini and topped with crispy garlicky breadcrumbs. For obvious reasons, that combination stuck with me.
So on a quiet Friday night with B out for a work event, I made a batch for myself – which was perfect to curl up with a few episodes of Homeland, and equally good as a bracing bite early in the morning before heading out for the day’s adventures.
I used the original recipe as a base, but adding shaved zucchini and summer squash to the asparagus (and helping the spring-to-summer transition) and whole-wheat spaghetti in place of the bucatini. I also swapped the ramps I had on hand for the garlic – the whites in with the veg and the leaves in with the toasted breadcrumbs (or panko, in my place/pantry). I loved it with the changes, but imagine it would be pretty great as is.
One thing is for sure, lemony-garlic breadcrumbs need to top many more things … tomatoes, we’re looking at you!
I know it is now properly fall, but seeing October on on my calendar isn’t nearly as big of a signal for me as seeing winter squashes pop up in the market. So when I first saw butternut squash arrive, I through one in my bag, with plans to make Orangette’s warm butternut squash and chickpea salad with tahini.
Expect then it got hot. Hot like I didn’t know it got in San Francsico. Hot like there is no way I am eating anything more than ice cream tonight, let alone turning on the oven to make a cozy fall dinner.
So the butternut squash was relegated to sitting on the counter while we soaked up/hid from that heat wave that flushed over California.
Thankfully winter squashes are hearty and can handle just hanging out, being neglected for days on end. It really comes in handy come winter so you can stock up in advance to wait out the storms. But I have a feeling we won’t be having too many of those in the coming months – I’m pretty sure we left them all in New York.
And so once the heat broke, and things were again looking like fall, I was happy to know that this salad was still waiting for me – just hanging out until I could pull it together.
I love leftovers. I can eat soup for days. Just about any meat can make a mean meal on day two. Mac and cheese, yes please. But fish – no thanks. Underwater creatures just don’t hold the same appeal to me when reheated, repurposed or redone.
So when I saw that I had a bit more salmon than I knew we would eat for dinner, I didn’t cook it. Thankfully, I remembered seeing a quick citrus salt cure on wrightfood when I was scoping foodblogsearch.com for info on fish in parchment. And once I popped those packets in the oven, I zested up some lemons and oranges, mixed some sugar and salt and had my first go at home cured salmon.
Knowing that the piece I was using was teeny-tiny (I cut off the thinner side from the salmon that I was using for the papillotes so it would all cook evenly), I wouldn’t feel terrible if it all went awry and I had to toss it.
Do you cook much fish at home? As much as I love it, I really don’t. I think it is because I can’t honestly say that I know we will be eating at home when I am at the store. I can guess which days we will cook, but as you know, things come up – things change. And so while I am fine having chicken and veggies hang out in the fridge, waiting until I get my act together, fish, not so much.
I want to cook it and eat it the same day I buy it. I want it to be fresh, fresh, fresh! And so what happens more often than not, I just don’t buy it. Am I alone here?
But Sunday, I knew we were both going to be home from dinner, and there was some salmon at the market that looked so good, I thought it had just jumped right out of the water and into the fish case. So I jumped on it myself.
With holiday parties getting into full swing, I have had a few requests for drink ideas. I love the combo of whisky and apple, and these flavors work great hot or cold.
While there are of course differences in the taste between rye whisky and bourbon (both seen above), any of your favorites will work here, and will be a nice change from the ubiquitous vodka.
Sorry no pics of the drinks themselves – I am not so great at mixing cameras and cocktails. Someday maybe…
To add to the “festive-ness” of the drink, these sterling silver straws would be a great touch. But if the Cristofle ones are a bit much, there are a few alternatives, including the silver spoon/straws similar to those at Little Branch (another great place for cocktail ideas). And if you are going to a party, rather than hosting, these double as a fab gift!
But back the scheduled cocktails…
How often do you eat chicken? If you are like me and pretty much everyone else I know, it is one of the main standards, particularly at home. During the week, the boneless, skinless chicken breast makes many an appearance. It makes for a great weeknight meal – fast, healthy and there are umpteen ways to make it.
Sometimes, however, it just sometimes needs a little shakeup.
Enter the chicken thigh.Read the rest of this entry »